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Cite Sources: MLA Style

General Information on MLA

  • This page contains examples of commonly used citation formats from MLA-9th ed. There is essentially no difference between the MLA-8 and MLA-9, only more examples in MLA-9.
  • Cite sources that you have used in the body of your paper (in-text citation) and in the Works Cited list at the end of your paper.
  • Double space all of the citations on your Works Cited page.
  • Indent the second and following lines of the citation 5-7 spaces.

NOTE: The MLA style is generally used in humanities disciplines, such as reading and English classes. Please check with your instructors which style to use in your assignments.

Create In-Text Citations in MLA Style

What is an In-Text Citation? 

In-text citations are short references that lead the readers to the works-cited entries for the sources you have used in your research paper. The signal word/phrase that you use in the text must match the first thing that appears on the corresponding entry on the Works Cited page.

In MLA, the author's last name and the page number(s) from which the quotation or paraphrase is taken must appear in the text and a complete reference should appear on your Works Cited page.

Quoting Sources

When you quote a source, you include the author's exact words in your text. Use "quotation marks" around the author's words. Include signal phrases and an in-text citation to show where the quote is from.

Paraphrasing & Summarizing Sources

When you paraphrase or summarize a source, you restate the source's ideas in your own words and sentence structure. Select what is relevant to your topic, and restate only that. Changing only a few words is not sufficient in paraphrasing/ summarizing. Instead, you need to completely rephrase the author's ideas in your own words. You do not need to use quotation marks.

Always use in-text citations when you paraphrase or summarize, to let the reader know that the information comes from another source. Continue to use signal phrases as well.

Signal phrases let your reader know that you are quoting or summarizing from another source.

Examples:

  • In the words of researchers Redelmeier and Tibshirani, "..."
  • As Matt Sundeen has noted, "..."
  • Patti Pena, mother of a child killed by a driver distracted by a cell phone, points out that "..."
  • "...," writes Christine Haughtney.
  • "...," claims wireless spokesperson Annette Jacobs.
  • from Bedford Handbook (583)
acknowledges comments endorses reasons
adds compares grants refutes
admits confirms illustrates rejects
agrees contends implies reports
argues declares insists responds
asserts denies notes suggests
believes disputes observes thinks
claims emphasizes points outwrites

In-Text Examples in MLA Style

Signal phrase with author's name, "quote" (page).

Example
One researcher, Carol Gilligan, concludes that "women impose a distinctive construction on moral problems" (105).

One or two authors:
Signal phrase, "quote" (Author page).

Example
According to a study, "the poor and minorities were victims" (Frieden and Sagalyn 29).

More than two authors:
Signal phrase, "quote" (Author et al. page).

Example
Recent research shows that "most writing at the postsecondary level is persuasive and informational" (Graham et al. 57).

If the source has no named author, use the first main word in the title. If it is a very short title, you may use the whole thing. Put the title in quotation marks if it's a short source (e.g., an article) or italicize it if it's a longer source, like a book.

You may also name the title in your text and provide the page number in parentheses:
Signal phrase, "quote" (Shortened Title page).
Signal phrase with title, "quote" (page).

Example
Full title of book = Challenging Capital Punishment: Legal and Social Science Approaches

One article states that, "A death row inmate may demand his execution for notoriety" (Challenging Capital Punishment 135).

Challenging Capital Punishment states that "A death row inmate may demand his execution for notoriety" (135).

If there are no page numbers on the electronic source, use only the author name or the first main word of the title:

Signal phrase, "quote" (Author).
Signal phrase, "quote" (Shortened Title).

Example

According to a study, "Twins reared apart report similar feelings" (Palfrey).

Despite many myths in popular culture, young twins rarely create their own unique language (Idioglossia and Secret Language).

Create a Works Cited List in MLA

Some guidelines for the list of references at the end of your paper:

  • Alphabetize your Works Cited list by the first word of the citation, usually the author's last name. If there is no author, alphabetize by the first main word in the title (ignore a, an, or the).
  • Capitalize the main words in the document title. If there is a colon in the title (a subtitle), capitalize the main words after the colon.
  • Double space all of the citations on your Works Cited page.
Example

Works Cited

Clift, Eleanor. "When Women Said 'No.'" Newsweek, 31 Dec. 2012, pp. 44-50. Academic Search Complete, montgomerycollege.idm.oclc.org/login?url=https://search.ebscohost.com/login.aspx?direct=true&AuthType=ip,cookie,url,uid&db=aph&AN=84583654&site=ehost-live&scope=site.

Food Allergies: Reducing the Risks. Food and Drug Administration, Department of Health and Human Services, United States, 2009.

"Japan." Webster's New World Encyclopedia, 9th ed., Prentice Hall, 1992.

North, Stephen. "The Idea of a Writing Center." College English, vol. 46, no. 5, 1984, pp. 433-446. JSTOR, www.jstor.org/stable/377047.

Robinson, Ken. "Do Schools Kill Creativity?" YouTube, TED Conferences, 6 Jan. 2007, youtu.be/iG9CE55wbtY.

Walsh, John. Emily Dickinson in Love: The Case for Otis Lord. Rutgers University Press, 2012. Project Muse, muse.jhu.edu/book/13760.

Wymand-Marchand, Tracy. "Kahlo, Frida (1907 - 1954)." Encyclopedia of Activism and Social Justice, 2007. Credo Reference, search.credoreference.com/content/topic/kahlo_frida_1907_1954.

Cite Books, E-Books, and More in MLA Style

One author:

Last Name, First Name. Title of Book. Publisher, Year.

Example

Morrison, Toni. Song of Solomon. Vintage, 2004.

No author:

Title of Book. Publisher, Year.

Example

World Almanac and Book of Facts. Funk, 2007.

Books with two authors:

Last Name, First Name and First Name Last Name. Title of Book. Publisher, Year.

Example

Twycross, Meg, and Sarah Carpenter. Masks and Masking in Medieval and Early Tudor England. Routledge, 2002.

Books with more than two authors:

Last Name, First Name et al. Title of Book. Publisher, Year.

Example

Vaughan, Samantha, et al. Half Empty Half Full. Harcourt, 2000.

Entire book:
You may cite an essay from a book with an editor and multiple authors, or cite the whole book. This will depend on what you have quoted within your paper.

Last Name, First Name, editor. Title of Book. Publisher, Year.

Example

Grover, Jan, editor. Healthcare. Greenhaven Press, 2007.

Essay from an edited book:

Last Name, First Name. "Essay Title." Title of Book, edited by (Editor) First Name Last Name, Publisher, Year, p(p). Page(s).

Example

Williams, Walter. "Bogus Rights." Healthcare, edited by Jan Grover, Greenhaven Press, 2007, pp. 127-136.

An e-book citation follows the same rules as a print book citation. E-books may have been published in different file formats (e.g., EPUB or Kindle). If you have that information you can list the file format as a supplemental element at the end of the entry.

Last Name, First Name. Title of Book. Publisher, Year. Title of database or website, DOI or Permalink or shortened Database URL.

Examples

MLA Handbook. 8th ed., E-book ed., Modern Language Association of America, 2016. EPUB. 

Rowling, J. K. Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets. Kindle ed., Arthur A. Levine Books, 1999.

If you can't tell the specific file format, use "E-book" as a description:

Example

Silva, Paul J. How to Write a Lot: A Practical Guide to Productive Academic Writing. E-book, American Psychological Association, 2007.

A book published in audiobook format:

Last Name, First Name. Title of Book. Narrated by Narrator Name, edition. Publisher, Publication Date.

Example

Lee, Harper. To Kill a Mockingbird. Narrated by Sissy Specek, audiobook ed., unabridgd ed., HarperAudio, 2014.

Cite Articles and Reports in MLA Style

If a permalink or DOI (Digital Object Identifier) is available, include either of those after the name of the database. If it is not, you may use the basic URL for the database home page. For more than 2 authors, provide only the first author, followed by et al. (e.g., Wingert, Peter, et al.)

Note: Check with your instructor if you need to provide the date that the article was accessed.

Article in a database with a DOI:

Last Name, First Name. "Title of Article." Title of Journal, vol. #, no. #, Year, p(p). Page(s). Name of Database, DOI.

Example

Cutler White, Carol. “Higher Education Governance and the Attainment Agenda: Arrangements With Benefits for Community Colleges?” Community College Review, vol. 47, no. 3, July 2019, pp. 219–41. Academic Search Complete, https://doi.org/10.1177/0091552119852158.

Article in a database with a permalink:

Last Name, First Name. "Title of Article." Title of Journal, vol. #, no. #, Year, p(p). Page(s). Permalink. 

Example

Teranishi, Robert T., et al. “Immigrants in Community Colleges.” The Future of Children, vol. 21, no. 1, 2011, pp. 153–69, http://www.jstor.org/stable/41229015. Accessed 9 May 2022.

Journal article published online/web:

Last Name, First Name. "Title of Article." Title of Journal, vol. #, no. #, Year, p(p). Page(s). URL.

Example

Thimann, Heidi. "Marginal Beings: Hybrids as the Other in Late Medieval Manuscripts." Hortulus, vol. 5, no. 1, 2009, hortulus-journal.com/journal/volume-5-number-1-2009/thimann/.

Magazine article online from a database:

Last Name, First Name. "Title of Article." Title of Magazine, Day Month Year, p(p). Page(s). Database Name, URL.

Example

Clift, Eleanor. "When Women Said 'No.'" Newsweek, 31 Dec. 2012, pp. 44-50. Academic Search Complete, search.ebscohost.com/login.aspx?direct=true&db=a9h&AN=84583654&site=eds-live&scope=site.

Magazine article free from web:

Last Name, First Name. "Title of Article." Title of Magazine, Day Month Year, URL. 

If a newspaper article is several pages long but the pages are not continuous, use the first page number followed by a + sign (e.g., pp. 14+).

Online newspaper article from database:

Last Name, First Name. "Title of Article." Newspaper Title, Day Month Year, Edition (if available), Page(s). Name of Database, DOI or Permalink or shortened Database URL.

Example

Will, George. "A Health 'Reform' to Regret." Washington Post, 28 June 2009, final ed., p. A17. ProQuest Newspapers, search.proquest.com/docview/410321858?accountid=39773.

Online newspaper article from the web:

Last Name, First Name. "Title of Article." Newspaper Title, Day Month Year, URL.

Example

Ruane, Michael. "Rare Tiger Cub Born at National Zoo." Washington Post, 11 July 2017, wapo.st/2u9dVuO?tid=ss_mail&utm_term=.91331eedc7c7.

Cite Websites, Streaming Media, and More in MLA Style

Internet sources can be difficult to cite because the information available is not consistent. When creating your citation, follow the guidelines and use as much information as you have. If information is not available, leave out that part of the citation.  Copy the URLs from your web browser, but remove the http:// or https:// from the beginning.

Website with no author:

Title of Web Site. Publisher of site, Date of Publication or Update Date, URL.

Example

Medline Plus. U.S. National Library of Medicine and National institutes of Health, 26 Aug. 2016, medlineplus.gov.

Webpage with an author:

Last Name, First Name. "Title of Page, Document, or Section." Title of Web site, Publisher or Sponsor of site, Date of Publication, URL.

Example

Welch, Ashley. "What Are the Symptoms of Zika Virus?" CBS News, CBS Interactive, 2 Aug. 2016, www.cbsnews.com/news/zika-virus-symptoms-how-do-you-know-if-youre-infected/.

Webpage with no author:

"Title of Page, Document, or Section." Title of Web site, Publisher or Sponsor of site, Date of Publication, URL.

Example

"Underage Drinking." Medline Plus, U.S. National Library of Medicine and National Institutes of Health, 26 June 2017, medlineplus.gov/underagedrinking.html

Twitter:

Twitter Handle [Full User Name if available]. "The entire tweet word-for-word." Twitter,  Day Month Year, time, URL. 

Example

@librarycongress [Library of Congress]. "Pinterest users: Dreaming of the Beach? Don't Miss Out on Our Seaside Images https://www.pinterest.com/LibraryCongress/the-beach/" Twitter, 7 July 2017, 4:00 p.m., twitter.com/librarycongress.

Instagram:

User Name. "The entire post word-for-word." Instagram,  Day Month Year, URL. 

Example

librarycongress. "What an amazing day with Wonder Woman herself, Lynda Carter, joining us for the Library of Awesome event!" Instagram, 16 Jun 2017, www.instagram.com/p/BVasbqBhwYw/?taken-by=librarycongress

Blog post:

Author Last Name, First Name. "Title." Blog Name,  Day Month Year, URL. 

Example

Naish, Darren. "If Bigfoot Were Real." Scientific American Blogs, 27 June 2016, blogs.scientificamerican.com/tetrapod-zoology/if-bigfoot-were-real/. Accessed 28 June 2016.

Note: MLA recommends starting with the title of the video since it is often hard to tell if the user who uploaded the video is also the creator.

"Title." Platform, uploaded by username, Day Month Year, URL.

Example

"Dog Turns Roomba Off." You Tube, uploaded by ilovetobemom, 28 Dec. 2016, www.youtube.com/watch?v=ei5H-wd3BIU

Note: The publication date for the audio recording in a physical format is generally on the album or CD, or the accompanying booklet.

An entire audio CD:

Artist Name. Title. Publisher, Year. Format.

Example

Odetta. One Grain of Sand. Vanguard Recording Society, 1963.Vinyl.

A song streamed from an app:

Artist Name. "Song Title." Album Title. Publisher, Date. Streaming platform.

Example

Odetta."Sail Away, Ladies." One Grain of Sand, Vanguard Records, 1 Jan. 1963. Spotify app.

Try It

"Try It!" with blank notebook and pencil

Practice building a citation in the MLA format using the template linked here from the MLA Style Center.

Learn More

Pencils against a blue background. 'Learn More'

Access the e-book version of MLA with your MC ID to learn more about how to create citations using MLA -9.

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